Campouts and Smores-Stories and Dancing!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Another great day for E session at Gwynn Valley.  We just finished our campfire for those not camping out tonight at various places on the property.  Those who camped out also cooked dinner out over an open fire.  At this hour they are all asleep after having sat around the campfire after a meal and some smores.  What is a campfire without smores.  I’m always amazed at the variety of ways in which campers “roast, toast or nuke” their marshmallows for the smore.  I haven’t concluded which is the favorite cooking method for this summer’s group.  Food is always an item of discussion at camp whether it’s the food in the dining room or the foods we don’t have at camp.  As you parents know GV is free of those junk foods that most of us at least try once in a while when no one is looking.  I myself have a thing for the spicy Doritos but go a whole summer without because we don’t have them here.  Even in the off season I partake in moderation.  Our food is really good at camp but there are picky eaters among our ranks.  Rest assured, that we will not let any child go hungry and if we can’t find something suitable at the meal we’ll wait till afterward and search the kitchen for something that the picky eater will eat.  This doesn’t happen often but it does occur.  We also live in an age where many children are allergic to certain foods.  The days of sitting a container of peanut butter on a serving table with bread for those that don’t want what is being served are long over.  I’m actually glad because I love peanut butter and would probably have it several times a week.  At any rate, the food has been outstanding this summer.  Many of meals come from the Farm and the Mill.  Not many camps can lay claim to that.  We also serve a good bit of fruit here at camp.  Did you know that you can take a simple orange quartered, eat the orange down to nothing but the skin and you have the beginning of an orthodontist’s nightmare.  With the care of a surgeon and a plain ole table knife you can create orange teeth that will make your mother howl that her daughter or son is changing into an alien (look for photos to come).  This is a skill that I learned many years ago working at camp and I always pass along whenever orange quarters are served.

We danced our way through campfire tonight with “Going to Kentucky, Circle Round My Zero, Paddy Cake Polka, and the Virginia Reel.  We also had Tajar Tales tonight for those who weren’t camping out.  If you don’t know who the Tajar is well let me just fill you in…. Of all the animals in the forests and the lakes, there is none so curious as the Tajar.  The Tajar lives in a very special place.  He lives in an old tree somewhere near the camp.  If you were to see the Tajar’s tree, it would look like all the other trees of the forest.  But if you were to see the Tajar, you would know that he is something very special. The Tajar looks a little something like a tiger and something like a jaguar and something like a badger, but is different from all those animals.  He would rather dance in the moonlight on a warm summer night than sleep in his tree.  He might be sitting in a tree right now, listening to campers carrying on a conversation.  And if he were, he would be so quiet you couldn’t hear him move.  But if you were to look around and see the Tajar sitting high in the limbs of a nearby tree, he would certainly look most curious.  You might think he looks a little like a tiger and something like a jaguar and something like a badger.  But if you were look away, you wouldn’t be able to remember what the Tajar looks like.  The Tajar is a very nice fellow.  He is always willing to listen to a story or help carry firewood or do anything you ask.  But every now and then something strange happens.  When the moon is just right and wind blows very slightly through the trees, the Tajar can become full of folly.  He will dance in the moonlight and swing through the trees by his tail, taking death-defying life-leaps.  Someday you may see the Tajar sitting very high in the tallest branches of his tree having tea.  If you see the Tajar once, you will certainly forget what he looks like.  If you see the Tajar twice, you may not remember what you forgot when you saw him.  And if you see him the Tajar three times, you will certainly forget that you forgot everything you remembered about the Tajar – except for one thing – you will surely become a friend of his.  The more you forget, the more you find that the Tajar is a most curious animal.

In the AM it was Tree Climbing, A Tubing Trip, Archery, Pottery, Soccer, Farming, Swimming, and so much more.  Signups for afternoon activities happened after singing with a variety of things to do from Wall Climbing, Jackson kayaks, Quidditch from Harry Potter,  to mountain biking to pottery animals.   It was a busy afternoon here at the GV cove.  My blog is just the tip of the iceberg for what happens here each and every day.  Before I sign off, I just want to say that these kids are here and unplugged and having a great time.  The camp experience is an American tradition because of the value it adds to the lives of kids.  Camp helps children:

Grow emotionally

Develop values like respect, honesty, caring, and sharing

Develop critical skills, such as leadership, independence, personal responsibility

Participate in physical activities and exercise

Connect to nature

Form authentic relationships

Take healthy risks in a safe and nurturing environment


In other words, camp does children a world of GOOD!  Stay tuned!